Alchemical Thoughts

Archive for November 12th, 2007

I was just reading Walt Crawford's Cites & Insights for August 2007. Yes, I know. I am running a bit behind on some of my reading. Life and work happens is all I will say. Anyhow, as I am reading the essay on authority, I realize that I have been fragmenting my blogging. Some of it is due to experimentation. I am blogging in here because I wanted to try out Vox. I also wanted a tool for blogging with a decent privacy option for posts, which was something that was lacking on Yahoo! 360 when I kept the Alchemical Thoughts over there. And why did I start Alchemical Thoughts? Because I wanted some sort of small scratch pad. Besides trying out the tool over there, I wanted something where I could post bits and pieces, odds and ends, notes and knacks that were mostly for myself. I figured they were mostly little things that, well, I don't think too many people would care about. Not quite substantial enough for The Gypsy Librarian and not personal stuff for The Itinerant Librarian. So, I started Alchemical Thoughts. It would be my little scratch pad as well as a place to put little thoughts here and there, thus the title. It became Maverick Librarian's Alchemical Thoughts when I moved the operation here.

So, I have then three blogs. Three children if you want to look at it that way. There is the professional one, the unruly one, and the laid back, quirky one I guess. Joking aside, the reason I find myself thinking about this is because at times I wonder where do I post X or Y? Do I just want to do a quickie post on some topic, usually academic? It probably will go here. Here is another admission, while we are admitting things. Sometimes I will post here because I know it will not get a whole lot of traffic or views. I don't care if it gets some views; if I did, the whole blog would be private. But I know that The Gypsy Librarian gets some traffic by now. Last thing I want is to bore those people with something  like a link dump.

Some people would simply put everything into one blog. It works for them. For me, I need a little more separation between my professional side (the academic librarian) and the personal side (the sometimes quirky and passionate librarian. Not that the academic side lacks passion. But let's be honest, there are things one should not say in polite company, thus the personal blog). Some bloggers put that all in one place. Maybe I worry a bit about image. When I go on a job interview, or I just want people in my line of work to get a good impression of me, I refer them to the professional blog. More personal acquaintances and friends, of which I have very few, I am happy to refer them to the personal blog and the jokes about expensive desserts, phone sex, Porn Sunday, and so on. If audiences find the other blog, that is fine, but I don't actively promote. In fact, there are days when it amazes me that anyone would read anything I put on a blog. There are so many fine librarian bloggers out there; go read them.

This leads me to the other item I wondered about in reading Walt Crawford's writing: the issue of self-censorship. And the only reason I wondered is because of something I have been doing lately. When it comes to certain topics in librarianship, I often make the disclaimer in commenting that it is a topic I usually avoid. I know that some smarty pants out there will say I did not avoid it if I made a comment. That's not quite the point. The point is that for certain topics I may comment on someone's blog if it is someone who seems to be going down a different path. Let's use Library 2.0 as an example. What may catch my eye, if at all, is when someone questions it because at the end of the day a lot of people follow it blindly. To a good number of people it is a cult, pure and simple.Thus I stay away from the topic, not because I am a technophobe or "don't get it" (yes, I have gotten that label at one point), but because I just could not care less. Making that disclaimer when you think about is a form of self-censorship. But it can also be a bit of rebellion, as if saying, "I don't want to be associated with those people who go ga-ga over anything 2.0 without thinking."

Another reason I avoid topics like Library 2.0 is a bit of self-preservation. I know how the bread is buttered, so to speak. Call out the wrong person because you disagree with them, and if they don't rip you a new one, their minions will. I don't need the aggravation. Life is too short. Let them fight it out and deal with whoever is left standing I say. Live and let live. After all, I am not an expert by any stretch when it comes to things like L2. I am an academic librarian in the front lines at a small university with daily concerns. I am a pretty good teacher; I do fairly well when it comes to reference. I do my part to keep up. Library 2.0 very often is just some abstract concept for people who clearly have more time and funding than I could ever dream.  And I am just using L2 as an example. At the end of the day I just see it as having better things to do.

Now, if anyone out there wonders if I just really don't care or lack an opinion, let me reassure you that I do have my opinions. I just choose not to make them public. Nice thing about a blog with privacy settings, or the old fashioned paper journal (yes, I have one) is that you can keep your thoughts close to your vest. Sometimes you want to write it. It does not mean you have to make it public.

Anyhow, here is something Walt wrote that made me think a bit, and I will stop here with that then:

"We should be able to free ourselves from arbitrary distinctions between professional and personal. We should be able to speak in our own voices rather than neutral scholarly tones without our thoughts dismissed as mere blogblather."

And there you have it.

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